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Zappos: Be Human

A woman has a heartwarming experience with an online shoe retailer and writes about it. Seth Godin picks up the story and so do hundreds of other people. This is what they did:

When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. I was just back and not ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died but that I’d send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn't have to take the time to do it myself. I was so touched. That’s going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.

My point is this: Did they do anything that one friend wouldn't do for another? No. And that is where the uniqueness of their act lies. They didn't treat their customer as yet another number in their registry who is to be exploited for all she is worth. They treated her as a friend, and got a customer for life. The amount of PR that they generated from this exercise is another story whole together.

Radiohead: Respect Your Customers

When customers are satisfied by your product, they will pay you gladly. You do not need to rip them off. This is the lesson that Radiohead has drilled into every bodies head. Their basic strategy was to ask the customer what their album was worth. You think its absolutely great and wanna pay 15 dollars? Sure, do it. Think its pure crap and doesn't deserve a penny? You can do that too.

If you thought that Radiohead's experiment was a colossal blunder, if you felt that people would never pay for something they could get for free then here are the figures: 1 Week, 1.2 Million Albums Sold, at $8 per album. No middlemen. Enough said.

Tata Indicom: Stupidity Has No Limits

Seriously Tata, can't you even do some damage control when you know that you are going to be featured in a T.V documentary exposing your abysmally shoddy service? But no. Never. Stupidity is what sets us apart you see:

The only lesson from Tata is to avoid being a dumbass, stories like these make or break a company's credibility. Millions spent on advertising are useless if you have jelly in your cranial cavity.


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